5 March 201917:49

Regarding a Nezavisimaya Gazeta article on Transnistria

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We are compelled to respond to an article by the director of the newspaper’s coverage of politics in countries of Russia's near abroad, Svetlana Gamova, on Moldovan and Transnistrian issues entitled “Moldova may open a second Transnistrian front,” published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta on February 20 of this year. This article contains many factual errors.
The following excerpts require revision:
1) “The sides have agreed to mutual recognition of the diplomas of Moldovan and Transnistrian universities.” However, the signed protocol does not endorse such recognition but only the authentication of diplomas of Taras Shevchenko Transnistria State University by the Ministry of Education of Moldova;
2) “They built a bridge across the river that was destroyed way back in 1992.” This bridge was built in Soviet times and repaired in 2012. The relevant protocol provides for the official opening of traffic on it;
3) “The trilateral peacekeeping mission.” This name is incorrect because Ukrainian observers take part in this mission along with Moldova, Transnistria and Russia; OSCE representatives also participate in the work of the United Control Commission (UCC);
4) “Additional Moldovan military units are ready to enter the Security Zone.” A Moldovan delegation refuted this rumour two weeks ago and presented on the following day written assurances that Moldova does not intend to take this action;
5) “Just before, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of the Republic of Moldova announced the doubling of polling stations in the Security Zone, once again without informing the UCC about this.” On the contrary, on February 13, the CEC of the Republic of Moldova announced the withdrawal of practically all polling stations from the Security Zone to Moldovan territory.
We were perplexed by some of the conclusions reached by the journalist. For example, Gamova claims that "the 5+2 negotiating format may trigger a new conflict on the Dniester," implying that Russia – a participant in this format, as well as a mediator and guarantor of the Transnistrian settlement process – will encourage armed clashes. Such a statement shows that the author fundamentally misunderstands the issue, or writes with the intention of provoking.
Chisinau, the article alleges, “is changing the formula of dialogue with Transnistria.” Moldovan leaders have regularly made similar statements since 2012 but without any results.
We believe that these facts show that Gamova was irresponsible in her preparation of this article for print and does not understand the complicated political situation in the region, particularly given that the piece was published ahead of the parliamentary election in Moldova on February 24.  We hope this was not a piece of deliberate disinformation addressed to the world public during the election campaign, which could undermine trust in this Russian publication.

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